Perryville school district approves shorter days, longer school year

Perryville school dist. approves shorter school days, longer school year

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - The school day will be shorter next year at District 32 schools, but there are more days of attendance.

Perry County School District 32 Board of Education approved the 2016-17 school calendar as presented during Wednesday night's meeting.

Currently, classes are held from 7:55 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. In the next school year, students will attend classes from 7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.

The current school calendar has 169 student attendance days and 179 teachers days; the 2016-17 calendar has 171 student days and 181 teacher days.

The recommended calendar was developed by the district's calendar committee, which included Board President Nancy Voelker and Assistant Superintendent Jeanie White, along with teachers, administrators and support staff. Incoming Superintendent Andy Comstock also participated.

During the board meeting, Voelker praised the work of the committee.

"I was really proud of the committee," she said. "We polled staff about the calendar, and the committee used that information, along with data about student achievement, to carefully consider what would be best for our students."

Polling the district staff showed that most staff (57 percent) preferred moving back to a traditional school day with dismissal by 3 p.m., and with 181 teacher days.

Features of 2016-17 calendar:

  • The first day of school is Aug. 17
  • The last day of school is May 19, with student dismissal at Noon
  • A Spring Break was added in March to shorten Easter break which falls in the testing window
  • Christmas break spans 13 days in total, 8 school days
  • Thanksgiving break returns to 3 days, with students attending classes on Monday and Tuesday that week.

White said that the committee considered all factors affecting the district.

"We discussed everything," she said, "including transportation, breakfast and lunch times, assessment schedules, holidays and local events like Mayfest and East Perry Community Fair, the importance of time to collaborate, staff time to travel for holidays, the importance of providing a break after the back-to-school workshops, on so on.

"We were focused on ensuring that the staff survey results were reflected in the new calendar, and that the recommended calendar provided the very best educational opportunities and a safe environment for our children. I am confident that this calendar is designed to help the District maintain the current level of, or advance, student achievement.

"We're also in compliance with all DESE regulations. For instance, we should have at least 1,044 hours of instructional time, and we have built our calendar so we are comfortably over that requirement.

"And, we listened to our parents," said White. "Many have expressed that half days of student attendance are difficult for them to manage if they have to arrange transportation or child care. In the coming year, we have only one day of early dismissal scheduled, which is the last day of school."

White said that the new calendar continues to offer scheduled time for teachers to receive training and collaborate on projects like writing curriculum and developing assessments.

"Our data proves that this time increases student achievement," she said. "Our Annual Performance Report has increased nearly 20 points in two years, so we know that our efforts are paying off in big ways for students."

District 32 will again host the All-School Back-To-School Conference for all parochial and public school staff members in Perry County.

It will be held on Monday, Aug. 15 at Perry Park Center.

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